The possibility of the existence of life on the Mars is a matter of significant interest among all the scientists worldwide.
Scientific searches for tracing the existence of life on the Mars started in the 19th century itself, and it still continues through telescopic investigations and landed missions.
The modern studies emphasize on the presence of water, the chemical composition of the soil and rocks found on the surface of the red planet, and biomarker gasses in the atmosphere.
In spite of several differences between the Earth and Mars, the scientists believe that there could be life on the red planet. There are multiple factors which influenced the scientists to start searching life on the Mars.
What made scientists believe that there is life on the Mars
i) Billions of years ago the Mars looked a lot like the Earth. It is believed that there was an ocean in the Mars once upon a time and there is an evidence that the planet would much warmer in the past, indicating that once there was a life in the planet but died off as the Mars changed.
ii) The presence of life-supporting ingredients such as nitrogen, carbon monoxide. There is also an evidence of salty, liquid water flowing underneath the surface.
iii) If extremophiles, the microorganism which can survive in extreme conditions such as the brackish pools of the high Andes, ice-covered lakes of the Arctic, and the dry and hot desert of Atacama, can be found in the Earth then life can also be found on the Mars.
Hunt for discovery of life on the Mars
So far several claims have been made by observers who believed they saw evidence of life on the Mars, but there is no full-proved evidence. Even the world's most powerful telescope is also failed to catch sufficient details of the Mars.
Since scientists around the world are desperate to discover life on the Mars, they decided to make more powerful instruments for learning about the planet.
As part of their efforts in this regard, a robotic spacecraft has been designed that provided wonderful views of the Mars. However, as of now, no human has tried to land on the Mars.
Meanwhile, NASA is endeavoring now to find out an evidence of life on the red planet. The US, as well as other developed nations, have been sending spacecraft to orbit or land on the Mars since the year 1960, and every time the missions are successful in providing us with some new fascinating information about the planet.
NASA had sent two robotic space craft, namely Viking 1 and Viking 2, on the Mars in 1976, and one of them worked there for around four years while another lasted over six years. Its study was specifically designed to find if there was something living creature like bacteria is present in the Martian soil.
However, the studies did not show any signs of life. Thousands of photographs of the Martian surface had been taken with the cameras fitted in the spacecraft. Images showed the changing seasons, details of the rocks and the dirt surrounding the landers. But there was no image of any big creature.
In 2012, a car-sized robotic rover Curiosity landed on Mars as a part of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission. The rover was sent to investigate the Martian climate and geology, if the selected field inside Gale Crater has ever presented a favorable atmosphere for supporting microbial life, investigate the role of water, and planetary habitability studies to prepare future human exploration.
NASA is now developing rovers to discover the possibility of fossilized signs of life that is expected to travel to the Mars in 2020.
NASA's Mars 2020 rover mission will facilitate scientists an exceptional opportunity to probe if there was ever any living creature in the past.
The rover which is being developed based on the design of Curiosity includes numerous cameras, sensors, and instruments to collect samples of rock for analysis.
A group of scientists working for NASA's Mars 2020 mission will look for an ancient geological environment which could have supported and afterward generated fossilized evidence of ancient microorganism. Such rocks are very much present on the Mars as the planet never experienced any plate tectonic activity.
NASA's 2020 rover mission is a part of its Mars Exploration Program, designed to move ahead high-priority scientific goals for Mars exploration.